On Monday we celebrated All Hallow's Eve, aka Halloween, the night before All Saints Day. Yesterday was All Saints Day, when we commemorate the faithful who have died in all times and all places. We particularly remember those who have died since last year's All Saints Day.
Today, particularly in the Catholic tradition, is All Soul's Day, aka Day of the Dead, when the faithful pray for those who have died and may be in purgatory. In the Methodist tradition the word "Saint" refers to all Christians and All Souls Day can be thought of as an extension of All Saints Day.
I write this because of an email I received today. The writer is Rev. Claudia Aguilar Rubalcava, who was born and raised in Mexico City and is ordained in the Presbyterian Church. She writes:
Beyond the remembrance of our loved ones, though, the overarching theme of Day of the Dead is celebrating life. The names of the living are written on sugar skulls, reminding us that life is sweet, but death is coming. The "papel picado," or punched paper decorations, the flowers, and the treats all are ephemeral, just like life. They also are beautiful and delicious, just like life. In the back of your head, you can hear the word of the preacher in Ecclesiastes, the first of the books of the Bible to gain great popularity among Aztec converts, who says:
[I will include the longer passage of her citation.] Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 "Go, eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has long ago approved what you do. Let your garments always be white; do not let oil be lacking on your head. Enjoy life with the wife [or husband] whom you love, all the days of your vain life that are given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in [death] to which you are going." (At https://goo.gl/6e6oez)
Today, remember the dead and what they meant to you: fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, sisters, brothers, and children. Then celebrate life because life is a gift from God.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Gary Taylor